Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Indiana
Eighty percent of Indiana was once covered with forest. Today, only 17% of forest area remains giving rise to industries like steel production, pharmaceuticals, and automobiles. With high levels of air pollution combined with a high prevalence of smokers, residents in Indiana are at risk of diseases of the respiratory and circulatory systems which collectively account for 12% of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries in Indiana. The top two SSDI beneficiary diagnostics are diseases that stem from mental disorders (34%) and those related to the musculoskeletal and connective tissue (26%).
If you suffer from a serious disability, you too, may be able to receive SSDI benefits. This program is under the federal government and is administered through the Social Security Administration (SSA). In order to qualify for benefits, your disability must meet certain conditions of eligibility such as:
- You have a disability that has lasted or is likely to last for at least one year
- You are not able to engage in substantial gainful activity
- The SSA has a list of medical conditions that could qualify you for SSDI benefits. These medical conditions are found in the SSA’S Blue Book
- You have contributed to the Social Security system to have earned enough work credits
In Indiana, the chances of your claim getting approved at the initial application level is about 29%.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Indiana
About 14% of residents in Indiana suffer from some form of disability. If your disability is an exact match to one or more of the listings in the Blue Book, your chances of a quick approval are extremely good.
Severe disabilities that need immediate attention will get preferential treatment. The SSA’s computer systems are able to identify severe disabilities and fast track their claims process. In order for this to happen you must make sure you have provided the SSA with all the necessary documentation and details of treatment.
The majority of people will not meet exact conditions in the Blue Book but can qualify for medical vocational allowance. In order to assess whether you can receive a medical vocational allowance, the SSA will examine your work experience of the last 15 years to see whether you may be able to qualify for other jobs. Your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) will also be evaluated to measure your physical limitations. You may also be requested to go through further diagnostics that would help the examiner to make a fair determination on your case. Your age, educational qualifications, and transferrable skills are factors that are considered during the assessment.
The initial application process normally takes 3 to 5 months but delays are not uncommon. This can be due to the back log in the Social Security system or very often, because the claimant has filed incomplete information and there is a delay in retrieving information from the treatment sources. It is very helpful for a claimant to know how the SSDI application process works and the documentation that needs to be submitted.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
The procedure for starting the SSDI claims application process is the same in every state. In the state of Indiana there are 26 Social Security offices. You can apply online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you.
Your case will be assigned to a Social Security Disability examiner who works for a state agency. The disability examiner will request for your medical records from the treatment centers you have listed. The examiner will call you for an interview which may be via video or telephone if you are not able to come in person.
Since only 29.5% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Indiana, the rest will need to go through the appeals system in order to get benefits they are entitled to. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages.
- Reconsideration: If considerable time has elapsed from your initial application, recent medical evidence may be presented at this stage. Recent is defined as not older than 90 days. The rate of approval at this stage in Indiana is 4.8% which is significantly lower than the national average of 11.3%. But strive on. The next stage of appeals is the most winnable of the Social Security disability process.
- The Court Hearing: Your case will be presented before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who has more flexibility than a disability examiner when it comes to making a decision on your case. You must make sure that recent medical evidence reaches the judge before the hearing date. In Indiana, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is 52.9%, lower than the national average of 59%.
- The Appeals Council: At this level, the decision made by the ALJ will be assessed. The Council will look at all the evidence once again and if he finds any evidence that would reverse the decision, he may send your case to another ALJ for another hearing.
- Federal Review: The last and final stage of appeal is the federal court. Many are advised to go through the SSDI application process again rather than appeal at this level because it is expensive, time consuming, and the least likely to go in your favor.
An appeal at every stage must be filed with the SSA within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. You are advised to hire an advocate to represent your case especially at the court hearing level because this is the best chance you have of getting your claim approved. Advocates who specialize in SSDI claims are extremely knowledgeable, experienced and can help you prepare a solid case. Because so much relies on the proper presentation of your case, getting an advocate would not only be prudent, but will relieve you of much stress. Advocates are available free of charge to help with your intial claim.
Why wait to file an SSDI claim? Fill out our free disability evaluation form today! Since the process can take several months you should apply as soon as you know your disability is likely to last a year and you are unable to work.
Fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Indiana
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Indiana State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- Indiana Disability Services: This website provides a wide range of resources for people with developmental disabilities looking for assistance in job training, residential services and more.
- The LIHEAP assistance program: This is a federally funded energy bill assistance program. You may be able to receive financial help in the form of a grant or credit on an account. Low-income homes that have a disabled family member, an elderly person, or a young child are given priority.
- SNAP Benefits: This program may help seniors, low-income workers, those who are disabled, and others put nutritious food on the table. Benefits are given every month through an electronic benefits card which can be used at authorized local food stores.